Working with affirmations
Choose your affirmations before they choose you. Even if you aren’t working with affirmations, you are still subject to them. They form your beliefs. What is a belief? It is a thought, repeated so frequently, it becomes a given. What do beliefs do? They merely create your reality.
For instance, if a person believes they’ll never lose weight, they probably won’t adopt any lifestyle changes that could help them with weight loss. However, if they think that it is possible to shed extra weight, they might start walking or biking rather than using a motorised vehicle. And they might read a book on nutrition… They might even remember that aunt Eileen lost a few pounds when she started swimming… So they start swimming. Their local swimming pool is attached to a dance studio with ballroom dancing lessons. Soon, they are walking, biking, swimming and dancing. They have also made a few changes to their diet. A few months later, they have lost a few kilos and feel a lot healthier.
But what are affirmations?
There is a chatterbox in our head constantly making comments on us and our life. Sometimes, we stumble on an affirmation that makes us feel good: “I love coming home to my family!” Other times, we are stuck with a negative affirmation: “I can’t afford to buy a car…”
The etymological root of the word ‘affirmation’ comes from the Latin verb affirmare, which means to make steady and firm (af-firm-ation). The chatterbox in our head doesn’t merely make inconsequential chit chat. It strengthens our beliefs by repeating a thought over and over again. ‘Affirmation’ also has a double meaning in our modern English vocabulary. It signifies an ‘assertion or declaration’, but it can also mean ’emotional support or encouragement.’
Affirmations are declarations we make to ourselves. They can be supportive and encouraging, but they can also be discouraging. Positive affirmations can empower us while their negative counterpart can incapacitate us. Negative affirmations can lead us to feeling completely stuck whether it’s in our career, finances, love life or health, etc… If you are facing any form of stagnation in your life, listen to yourself. Are your words supporting your ability to create the life you want? Or are they convincing you that your dreams are impossible to achieve?
Do I always have to be positive?
The only way to know what affirmations to choose is to hear our negative thoughts. There should be no censorship nor repressed feelings. By hearing and feeling our limiting beliefs, we can learn to push the boundaries of our mind with appropriate affirmations. The change first occurs within us. Through the affirmations we repeat, we start believing in a new way of experiencing life. The more we practise affirmations, the more this belief settles . We then gradually become ready to allow our circumstances to change. Our new perception is thus projected outwardly into the life we live.
Affirmations first create an internal shift that brings about an external one. This is the process of manifestation. A simple readjustment in our thoughts and feelings can eventually manifest into a colossal transformation in our life.
Powerful affirmations address limiting beliefs
Imagine someone who wants to discover the world, but doesn’t have the financial means to travel. They could affirm: My savings are increasing and I can afford to travel…
However, a more successful affirmation targets directly the present mindset. As an example, let’s say this person grew up with a parent who instilled in them that the good life is not for them: “it’s not for the likes of us.” If that person dreams to travel, they might be blocked by the thought that people from his background don’t experience the delights of life. After all, it was hammered into him when he was growing up. It has thus turned into a core negative belief.
Core negative beliefs are particularly potent. They are what we assume to be the nature of life. It is a very strong belief that we never ever question. They can keep us stuck in an unwanted state for a very long time, sometimes forever. Their influence is even greater when they are unconscious. Working with a practitioner or listening to ourselves can help bring them into awareness…
Even if the person in the example above affirms: “ My savings are increasing and I can afford to travel,” they may still be blocked by the belief: “it’s not for the likes of us.” In this case, a more successful affirmation would address the negative core belief: “I am free to be successful, to travel the world and to experience great adventures.”
Rules for creating successful affirmations
For an affirmation to be powerful, there are a few rules to follow:
An affirmation must be in the present tense.
This is to encourage us to believe of our dream as a fait accompli. Remember that we are not waiting to observe a change in our life in order to believe that it can happen. The change occurs within us and is then projected outward. By affirming in the present tense, we are declaring that the shift has already happened (within).
NO: I will pass all my exams
YES: I am passing all my exams
Keep the focus on positive words.
If the affirmation is cluttered with words representing what we don’t want, our focus may go on those unwanted possibilities.
NO: I am not sad anymore (focus on ‘I am’ and ‘sad’)
YES: I am happy. (focus on ‘I am’ and ‘happy’
We don’t aim to change others
The affirmation is about us and no-one else in particular. The shift happens in us, not in someone else, because we cannot control others. We can only better ourselves and our circumstances.
NO: He loves me and respects me.
YES: I love myself and I am attracting people who are loving and respectful towards me.
Enthusiasm is the key word
The more we connect with an affirmation, the better chance to feel enthusiasm for it. Feeling an affirmation is essential to creating a shift in our life. A good affirmation is not just an array of words. It’s an energy of joyful anticipation that attracts a positive movement in our life.
To know how you feel about a potential affirmation, close your eyes and state it. Become aware of how it makes you feel. Do the same with some other phrases and choose the one that feels exciting because it feels real.
Some people may connect with: “I am receiving abundance continuously.”
Others may prefer: “I am making loads of money and it feels fantastic!”
Keep it simple!
It is best not to choose Shakespeare as inspiration for an affirmation. A phrase that is simple to remember is preferable. This way, it can be repeated often and thus become ingrained in our psyche faster.
NO: I have a heart to love, and in that heart courage to make ’s love known?
YES: I am in a relationship that feels loving and peaceful.
Understand your desires thoroughly and be precise.
We must know our intentions and declare them in the most literal way possible. It’s so important to understand our wishes and how it would benefit our life?
NO: I am mega famous.
No! Because you could become famous for the wrong reason like that mortifying Youtube clip that goes viral…
YES: I am attracting positive attention that benefits my acting career.
When to work with affirmations
All you need is a quiet moment. It could be the moment you wake up or right before you fall asleep. It could also be when you are queuing, walking, exercising or meditating, etc… More importantly, use your affirmations when you catch yourself being negative. One way is to stop your stream of thoughts and replace them with the affirmation that addresses your concerns. Gradually, you should feel more relaxed and optimistic. You could also use the method below, if the moment lends itself to it.
Breathe and recognise your worries. As you close your eyes, imagine all these worrisome thoughts moving from you to a cloud. You may visualise these thoughts, for instance as small dots or as an object. You may also feel the release rather than seeing it. This cloud then travels away from you. It goes into a healing light where all your concerns dissolve. Then affirm to remind yourself that you have already created an internal shift. You are thus already heading to a more favourable outcome by giving continuous momentum to that shift.
I cannot emphasise enough the importance of feeling an affirmation. It is easy for affirmations to become a bunch of words. When you feel the affirmation, you bring it to life. As an example, let’s say you want a car. The affirmation you choose is: “I am the proud owner of a safe and reliable car!”
As we’ve seen above, the affirmation is powerful if it feels good. To increase that positive feeling, you could add some creative visualisation to your affirmation. Your aim is to visualise yourself in a scene that brings a big involuntary smile to your face and that makes you feel enthusiastic. You may have to search for your visualisation the first few times you are affirming. For instance, it could be you, in your car, driving on a sunny day. Or, it may be the moment the car salesman gives you the keys to your car and you drive away… You may see the scene in your mind’s eye or you may feel it, which is just as effective.
There are actually many ways to work with affirmations. Creative visualisation is my personal favourite.
Thoughts are the seeds that form the landscape of your life. Thrown carelessly, these seeds can create a setting that is incongruous to your greatest longings. Chosen carefully, they grow into a scenery that invites the life you desire.
Practising affirmations is the exercise of planting seeds of thought with awareness and nourishing them assiduously. These seeds grow into beliefs that have the power to move you towards your dreams. Everything is possible with the right affirmations, as your thoughts are constantly paving the way for your destiny.